(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Mobile Phones: Still Filthy

from the yet-again,-huh? dept

Researchers just can't seem to resist stories that involve germ counts on today's technology. Three years ago, it was the story about how your computer is 400 times dirtier than your toilet seat. Then there was the story about how much bacteria are found on internet cafe mice. Last year, it was again about how your desktop has more germs than a toilet. This year, they're back with the latest version of such studies, and it has (once again) found that your mobile phone is pretty dirty. That's not a surprise. The real question is whether or not it's actually dangerous -- and of course, the study doesn't actually answer that question. Perhaps it's because it was sponsored by a mobile phone retailer who wants you to buy a new mobile phone to replace your filthy one -- without explaining that the new phone will probably get just as filthy pretty quickly (and still probably won't be all that dangerous). Of course, if you're really worried, why not just pick up a sterilizing phone charger?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 5:57pm

    your germs are good for you

    Nonsense. Unless you share your mobile phone its bacterial population are in sympathy with your own filthy (or very clean*) skin, and hence the antibody makeup of your own system.

    Internet cafe mice and public phones, yes. But not your mobile phone.

    * oddly people who overwash with anti-bacterials are at a higher risk of parasitic and dangerous bacterial infection. There is actually a naturally good level of dermal bacteria.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 6:33pm


    Impetigo is a contagious disease you can catch from shared surfaces. Try a google image search on it -- if you haven't eaten recently, anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 7:09pm

    Don't press train buttons

    In Tokyo, a 28-y.o. train conductor is being charged with obstruction of duty, because he developed a sexual fetish for the train's electronics. He repeatedly pressed the door-shut button with his dick, and licked the cables on other trains. The actions caused serious disruptions of the train system.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jane, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 8:03pm

    much ado about nothing

    FOMITES: Did a college paper on them. Cultured the bacteria found on an ATM keypad, a public phone mouthpiece, and a water fountain spigot. The keypad was by far the dirtiest, but then it was outside of a McDonalds. None of the bacteria were harmful.

    Yes, anything we touch with our hands generally has a higher bacteria count than things we generally touch with other parts of our body.

    Most bacteria are beneficial to the skin because they prevent colonization of the skin by pathogens and they control the other organisms on the skin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 20th, 2007 @ 10:01am

    Re: Don't press train buttons

    I think we're taking the "techdirt" theme a little too literally today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Warren Theriot, Jan 20th, 2007 @ 8:25pm

    dirty phone sterilizer/charger

    To make a sterilizer for your cell phone, use an ozone producing
    shortwave ultraviolet light in a small enclosure that blocks the light to the outside and your eyes. It will shut off the light when opening the lid to pick up the phone. The type of tube would be the type used in EPROM erasers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Still Another anonymous coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 7:32am

    Re: dirty phone sterilizer/charger

    Or, you could have the charger heat the phone enough to... oh, wait a minute. This may already exist...

    Actually, this is just another story of paranoia. Our learned intollerance for germs and mis-use of anti-germ agents may kill us before global warming. Get our bodies used to sterility, then hit us with even more powerful germs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Walter Dnes, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 7:15pm

    This is going too far

    Let's ship all those wannabee mobile-phone cleaners off in a rocket to the farthest edge of the galaxy. And while we're at it, let's send all the hairdressers, middle managers, and marketers with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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